Inter Rhone, the association of Cote du Rhone and Rhone Valley wine producers, is to double its marketing budget, the French press reported today. The association announced this week that it will up the amount spent on marketing the region's wines to €20m over five years, in the face of falling export volumes and sales.

The region saw sales volumes in 2003 fall by 3%, while export sales dropped by 9% as competition from New World wines increased. After rising over the last five years, sales to the US in 2003 slumped by 24%.

Inter Rhone plans to increase sales by 40% and develop exports to Russia and Eastern Europe.